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Thread: Colonial American Cooking Tools

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Default Colonial American Cooking Tools

    For those of you that homestead or are thinking about homesteading, I thought I would share some tools that early Americans used in every day cooking. It might give you some ideas to incorporate into your life style.

    fire spoon - A fire spoon is a long handled tool similar to a fireplace shovel used to carry hot coals from place to place. It might be from the fireplace to start an oven or from home to home if your fire went out.

    quern (or quern stones) - Used to grind grain into flour.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quern-stone

    spider - Used to sit frying pan on so you don't have to hold it. Couldn't find a picture for this guy. Basically, a three or four legged skillet. I finally found a picture of a spider:

    http://www.spitjack.com/page/SJ/PROD/TOOLS/POTJIE-SK

    samp mortar - A Samp Mortar is a tool for grinding dried corn (maize.)

    It was made from the stump of a tree (ideally, white oak or pine) burned hollow, scraped clean and polished. You aimed to make your hollow an inverted conical shape -- the fire could be guided by holes drilled in the stump.

    Ideally, the tree stump would have a healthy sapling tree nearby, or a tree branch.

    If so, you'd tie a block of white oak to the sapling or branch. Otherwise, you'd make a sweep coming off a post and hang the pounder off that.

    You worked the device like a piston, with whatever you'd hung the pounder on acting as a spring to lift it back up for you to ease the work. Still, it could take half a day to grind up half a bushel of corn into cornmeal.

    SOURCE: practicallyedible.com

    Fireplace crane - A device that spans the width of the fireplace on which pots can be hung. These generally will rotate out of the fireplace so you can add, remove or stir a pot without having your hands over the fire.

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    grate jack - used to sit pots on over the fire when a crane is not used.

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    Last edited by Rick; 02-23-2008 at 02:28 PM. Reason: added link to spider


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    Senior Member nell67's Avatar
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    Nice Rick,I love the fireplace crane.
    Soular powered by the son.

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Probably the handiest device all. The thingys hanging on the crane that support the pots are called trammels. There are several different kinds that can be used depending on the type of crane. Notice the end of the crane has a bit of upward flare to keep trammels from sliding off the end.

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    Senior Member nell67's Avatar
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    Yep my great aunt in Kentucky had one that she used everyday,Loved going down there to visit them whe I was small.
    Soular powered by the son.

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    (FMR) Wilderness Guide pgvoutdoors's Avatar
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    Great info. I love to cook, all types of cooking especially outdoor and frontier cooking.
    "Just Get Out!"

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    (FMR) Wilderness Guide pgvoutdoors's Avatar
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    I took a look at some of the products that site had to offer and I like this one possibly for guiding purposes. Mostly shore lunches while fly fishing by float boat.

    http://www.spitjack.com/page/SJ/PROD...PORTABLE-GRILL
    "Just Get Out!"

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    That's look pretty nice. I was just looking for pictures to show what I was talking about in the post. I'm glad it it served another purpose.

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    Does anyone know what this is? (handle is newer but same length as original)

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    Senior Member nell67's Avatar
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    A bed warmer??
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    It's either a popcorn popper or a bed warmer. Which is it? Oh, yea. A wooden box.

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    Well, it's a bed warmer. You guys are good. Most people dont know what it is when they come over to visit.

    Thats not just any wooden box Rick, thats a tool box off a 1948 Massey Harris diesel tractor. He wore 1/2" off the front of the wood box striking matches to light his pipe. Only thing I have of his.

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    Senior Member nell67's Avatar
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    He Bragg,we are OLD,thats how we knew what it was

    Oh yea, if you see a guy right here,just reach out and slap him,I dare ya!!!!!
    Soular powered by the son.

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    Bragg - That toolbox thingy was going to be my second guess.....honest....it was.

    I have a bed warmer but mine doesn't have the holes in it. It's just a solid box. That's what through me off. I also have a popcorn popper for the fireplace. It has holes to let the steam out.

  14. #14
    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    here i was going to guess tempura ladle...
    Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice - Grey's Law.
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